In 1955, when Ann Mowat was a child she had a vision – one she would realise six decades off in the future.
Her vision? One day she would marry the boy next door, James Auld.
Despite James’s family – who lived in Springhill at the time – upping sticks and emigrating to Perth, Australia, fate was to lend a hand in reuniting the childhood friends, 60-plus years after waving each other goodbye, for what they thought was for the very last time.
Ann, 72, a retired nursery nurse, said: “James’s grandparents lived next door to my family in Kemnay and he would spend the summer holidays with them.
“We were always together and my lasting memory of him was that he would never eat vegetables.”
Sticking to his guns, to this day, James, 71, a granddad of six, remains vegetable shy!
A lovely and cherished childhood memory – in what both believed would be labelled in the past – before Ann and James went on to build lives on opposite sides of the globe.
Ann moved to Edinburgh in 1964. She married and had two sons, Stephen, 48, and Mark, 47.
She was to return to Kemnay in 1980 after she divorced and remained happily single for the next 36 years.
For James, after 13 years in Perth, he set forth to travel throughout south Australia, when he signed up for his national service.
He married in 1969, had two daughters, Cynnamon,49 and Konaquin, 48, but was to divorce after six years of marriage.
“I spent the next 38 years living in Queensland,” said James, who had worked as a mechanical fitter.
Fate’s hand presented itself to James in 2016 when he was bequeathed a sum of money from a long-lost great aunt who lived in America.
James, who had always hankered for Scotland, knew exactly what he should do with his windfall.
“I was a little scared when it came to finally coming home to Scotland because I was worried I wouldn’t want to go back to Australia,” he admitted.
“My aunt Sheila still lived in Kemnay and I hadn’t seen her in years and decided to surprise her.
“Although I had thought of Ann over the years, I never gave thought she would still be living there.”
As James set out on the same bus route he had last taken to Kemnay 61 years earlier, wonderful memories flooded his mind.
“It felt like I was going back to visit grandma’s house and it was wonderful to recognise a few houses which remain to this day,” he said.
Fate once more intervened, when James arrived only to discover aunt Sheila was actually in hospital having a hip replacement operation.
When Ann discovered James was home at his aunt’s house, she popped along to say hello, and the six decades simply melted away.
They remain young in each other’s eyes and are both still captivated with each other.
“Within three months, James had sold up his house in Australia and came back to Kemnay,” laughed Ann.
“He was supposed to stay with his aunt, but that never happened. Instead he moved in here straight away and has never left.”
In August this year, after a two-year courtship, Ann and James exchanged wedding vows at Meldrum House Hotel in front of 40 delighted family and friends.
Ann said: “Never in a million years did either of us believe we would remarry, let alone to each other.“
Which only goes to prove one thing – love can grab you whatever your age!